Tips and Tricks: How to Work Offline with SOLIDWORKS PDM

SOLIDWORKS Product Data Management keeps your team together online and offline.

SOLIDWORKS PDM is the perfect UTM to keep everyone and everything organized. But what happens if you get disconnected from the network? Or when the vault is undergoing regular maintenance? Thankfully, you don’t have to connect to the vault or to the VPN to stay connected or access SOLIDWORKS Product Data Management software. Here’s how to work in offline mode with SOLIDWORKS PDM.

How SOLIDWORKS PDM allows you to work offline

One of the many benefits of SOLIDWORKS’ Product Data Management is that it allows you to work offline. When you work offline, you have exclusive ownership rights to the file you work on, so your work does not conflict with someone else’s changes.

Before you get offline

The most critical thing to remember about SOLIDWORKS PDM is that you can check-in and check out files only when you are online. So, ensure you check out all the files you will need before you get offline. When you are offline, the PDM does not connect with the server, and you will only be able to work with the files you have downloaded to your computer.

SOLIDWORKS PDM allows you to create new files in the vault offline. You can add newly created files to the PDM when you get back online.

Prepare to Get into Offline Mode

  1. Make a list of all the files you will require working offline and files that you intend to modify. Download these files to your computer.
  2. Also, download the latest or most recent version of files you might need for reference but will not be edited from the PDM.
  3. Download the Toolbox as well.

Once you have downloaded all the files you need to your computer’s hardware, you can begin working offline.

Other users will not have access to the files you have checked out. They will, however, know who has checked out the files. When you check out files, you will have read and write access to those files.

Getting Started in the Offline Mode

There are two ways you can get working in the offline mode.

  1. If you are not logged into SOLIDWORKS PDM, click on the vault. You will be prompted for your login credentials. Click on the ‘Work Offline’ button at the bottom lefthand corner of the login screen. This method will not show up if you have turned on “automatic login.”
  2. If you are logged into the PDM, go to Tools > Work Offline. Windows Explorer will automatically close, allowing you to work offline.

Indicators That You Have Entered Offline Mode

  1. You will see that all the green folders in online mode are now blue.
  2. You will not see much information that you see when connected to the PDM database. For instance, you will not see data in PDM-related columns and tabs like Data card, Bill of Materials, Version, Where used, and Contains.
  3. A ‘writable’ column will let you know if you can make changes to a particular file. All new files created in offline mode, and files checked out before going offline, will be writable.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Working Offline

  • Ensure you get the latest version of the file, or you might end up working on a version that is not the most recent.
  • Do not rename or move any file when working offline. If you do that, those files will not be reflected in the PDM when you get online.
  • Any new files created offline will remain in your local vault until it is uploaded online. So, don’t forget to upload those files when you get online. Right-click on each file and select ‘Add to File Vault.’

Getting Back Online

Once you have completed working offline, it is time to share your work with the rest of the team. To do that, go to Tools > Work Online. Once you are online, the folders turn green again.

Files that you had checked out will show up as “checked out.”

Any new folder created in the offline mode will remain unrecognized by the vault and will not show up as “checked out.” It will show up as a local file. Right-click on the folder and select ‘Add to File Vault.’ Once you ‘Add’ the folder to the vault, it is recognized by the vault. Finally, make any necessary changes to the data card and then check in the folders.

Whether it’s because you experience connectivity issues or need to work remotely when the vault is undergoing maintenance, the SOLIDWORKS Product Data Management tool ensures your work does not suffer. All you need to do is download all the files you need to your computer’s hardware while still online. Then, get your work completed offline and check the finished files to SOLIDWORKS PDM when you get online.

DesignPoint is a complete solution for engineers by engineers. The company was founded 20 years ago and builds innovative solutions that help product design, manufacturing, and engineering companies reach their true potential.